Musings on meaning - a long post, sorry....but loads of good stuff.
The new reading method is working wonderfully. When you change the order of the suits a lot of things start to fall into place. I spoke to Graham Wood and we are going to see what the cards look like if we change the colors of the 'spades' suit to green and the color of the 'shields' suit to blue. This will allow us to create the new sequence for the suits but maintain the color progression so it matches the refraction of light from Red to Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Indigo.
6 colors, 6 suits, 6 cycles, 6 'turnings' all within a metacycle - the 7th cycle. Every one of the shapes is present in this pattern of 7 circles. When you draw this out, it creates this pattern is also known as 'The seed of life'. This is an ancient symbol. Christianity has associated this 'flower' symbol with the 6 days that God created the earth and the 7th day he rested (6+1). It has also been associate with ancient Egyptians, Alchemists, Hermeticism, Euclid in the 3rd century BCE, it was the sign of master carpenters in the middle ages and also represents the 6 + 1 chakra's of Hindu model (+1= crown chakra). AND NOW NOCKWOOD.
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again" - Alice in Wonderland.
This was when the whole thing started to get interesting. When you start to layer on the different meanings of the Nockwood Archetypes, in this new order, three new dimensions emerge.
- 'Power' (Coins) sits opposite 'Control' and constraint.(Shields).
- 'Independence' (Diamonds) sits opposite the suit of 'Interdependence' (Flags).
- 'Subjectivity' (Hearts) sits opposite 'Objectivity' (Spades).
The balance of the three 'divine' suits and the three 'earthly' suits is also maintained.
So beautifully balanced. Half 'Divine' (i.e. those that are intangible, not of the physical world) and half 'Earthly'(i.e. those that are tangible and of the physical world)
The Nockwood suits were born of an analysis of human behavior, but it's not surprising that each suit also represents a core human capability - the things that make us uniquely human and the things that make our lives rich and meaningful. These are shown on the above diagram. The capacity to love, the capacity for authority, the capacity for curiosity, the capacity for wisdom and knowledge, the capacity for courage and the capacity for empathy.
Again, these human characteristics maintain the 'inner/outer' balance that is maintained throughout the Nockwood deck. Three of these are capacities you find from within your self - love, authority and curiosity. Three you express outwardly - wisdom, courage and empathy. If you've had a 4 card reading you will recognize this as the foundations for that spread - Subject and outcome (Earthly and Divine); What you should look to yourself for (inner) and How you should behave/act (outer).
What I'm learning though is that it's not just about opposing forces. The cards also represent a continuous, never ending cycle. This is 'natures cycle' that we see in everything in the natural world. From birth to death; from spring to winter; from technology invention to widespread use and application; the rise and fall of economic cycles ; the cultural shifts from enlightenment to crisis and revolution. This sequence has it's origins in evolutionary economics and evolutionary psychology and is the fundamental reason why we have different generations (i.e. cohorts of people born in certain socio-economic environments display similar characteristics).
The cycle (which I've put as an inner circle on this diagram) goes something like this...
... After periods of social retrenchment, we are hungry for new ideas. Seeds of new ideas are born of inner creativity and this feeds our desire for fresh new ideas. After periods of social retrenchment, we often see 'artists' inspired to create and that causes a period of great imagination and origination...
...The originators are not necessarily the people who recognize the potential of their creations or see the opportunity. After periods of creative innovation, we typically see the emergence of 'prophets', people who take new ideas and reveal to the rest of us, how they might be used. These prophets not only see the potential, they persuade others of the potential of these new idea. The rest of us often feel inspired or 'awakened' by these entrepreneurs, the leaders, the visionaries...
...After periods of such revelation, we enter an optimistic and forward looking phase. Everyone is high on the opportunity and filled with the desire to do everything in new and different ways. Remember the race to the stars, the boom of the internet, the promise of crypto-currencies. With our unbridled optimism every new technology becomes the answer to everything. We all rush to do something new, go and explore new territories...
...But that's when it hits us. Exploration is uncertain and unpredictable and leads to disappointment and unfulfilled promises. We typically over estimate the potential and while we were all equal in our optimism, it is only ever a small minority that ever find gold.
After periods of such exuberance, this inequality causes a great unravelling. We realize we've made mistakes. We are angry at the 'haves' if we are the 'have-nots'. We find ourselves in difficult or uncomfortable positions. We have to face tough realities and these are often met with an appreciation of knowledge, expertise and wisdom. We begin to see value in people's tangible knowledge and wisdom rather than their vision and optimism...
...This is when the cycle shifts from expansion to contraction. After a focus on knowledge and expertise we start to make rules. We realize our fears are real and that risks exist, we put firmer controls on ourselves. We seek self-control. We value protecting the things we have, rather than dreaming of the things we don't. We learn what we value and what needs to be protected...This typically leads to more conservative social dynamics and the pendulum swings to order, discipline and focus...
...After controlling our personal actions and behaviors we then start to expect this of others too. If we are doing without, then so should everyone. We shift our focus from self-control to control of others. We realize we have a shared destiny and as a result we start to care about how the actions of others impacts the 'group'. This is born of empathy and care for others but in social terms, this leads to very controlled and controlling environments, more rules and regulations. Risk and innovation is quashed in favor of convention and conservatism. These controlling dynamics feel safe for a while, but as we forget our fears, the creatives start to push against the constraints and get bored with the monotony...and so the cycle begins again.
I love this cycle. It illustrates why some of the things we tend to think of as 'success' and 'failure' are neither good or bad. They are just part of the natural order of things. We have to go through periods of growth and periods of retrenchment. Without pessimism there is no optimism. Without fear there is no courage. Without authority there is no rebellion. We need these ups and downs, expansions and retractions, moments of independence and moments of generosity if we are to maintain a balance in our lives.
The Nockwood cards remind us of these different dynamics and how to maintain this balance. Interestingly, more traditional masculine traits live towards the top of this diagram and feminine traits are towards the bottom (North vs South). The West and East of the diagram representing the tensions between the 'Me' (singular, simple, independent, free, the discoverer of knowledge and of wisdom) and 'We' (complexity, inter-relations and interdependencies, as represented here by the 'seed of life' symbol).
Then things start to get real funky. I started layering in the ages of man (90 year cycle from birth to death...90 years was the period of time identified by the ancient Greeks for a 'saecula') and social, economic, technological and political cycles that inform generations and seem to repeat themselves on a 45-50 year cycle. Now, I'm getting really specific here. The dates represent periods of recession as identified here. I am also redefining the classic 4 stages of economic cycles (expansion, boom, recession, depression) into 6 cycles. Adding 'recovery' between 'depression' and 'expansion' and crisis between 'expansion' and 'recession'.
Once again this brings additional meaning to the different suits of the cards. Still tied to the core human behaviors and capabilities but with richer and more detailed meanings.
So when you see an individual card from the Nockwood deck, it's essential to realize that it sits in a particular position within the cycle of the suit and that that suit cycle sits within the cycle of the full deck (all 6 suits). In this diagram the cycles of each suit are drawn counter clockwise (beginning with the ace and flowing from Hearts to Flags). The 7th cycle (the cycle of the Aces) flows clockwise from Hearts to Flags.